We really don't need most of it...obviously, from time to time, we all buy tackle that we know in our heart will never get used. That's part of the fun. I've probably got about 100 floats (at least 20 of them are porcupine quills that I have an unreasonable attachment to). I use no more than a dozen most years. Luckily it doesn't seem to stop me catching fish. I admit to being a "float tart", but am not a "tackle tart". So I have a relatively small standing collection of tackle (except floats).
I have rotated through quite a selection of stuff though. I'm a curious fellow and like to see things for myself. Here's some of the stuff I've seen for myself, among other things. Some of the other things are those I've collected along the way and have never quite thrown away, although that day is drawing nearer.
|Gobio Gobio (and return to the top of the page)||Gonk||Gobby||Gonk||Gobio Gobio||Gobby||Gobio Gobio||Gudgeon||Gudgeon||Gobio Gobio|
I have several rods more than I really need, in a variety of materials, built-cane, glass-fibre, carbon-fibre and 'Hexagraph'. I've given them their own sections, just because I wanted to. Yes, I know a 'Hexagraph' isn't actually a material, it's a composite of a carbon-fibre outer skin with a foam inner, designed to give the rod the 'feel' of good cane but the strength and weight of carbon-fibre. It's not 'pretend cane', it's rather better than that.
• Cane Rods . I like cane more-or-less although not with starry-eyed romanticism. I've owned a few cane rods and handled even more and can say, that for the most part, there were more bad ones than good. I do think that 'good' rods have what some call 'the feel' and this is a kind of steely flex that one can only really experience, I can’t fully describe it myself. A good example would be the Allcocks Superb below. I've held mine and the Woodsmans side-by-side and mine is a wand with a core of steel and his is less a wand and more a stick (although it does good service). It may be I've been amazingly lucky with the LRH No. 2 and the Octofloat and dreadfully unlucky with the MKIV. I would however argue that a material that varies so much by its very nature is the very definition of a 'poor material'.
It's certainly the case that a good cane rod has a 'feel' all of its own, some think it has soul, I prefer to think of it as a solid structure, that by its nature does not deform significantly when flexed and therefore has a restoring force that is a linear function of the deflection. You can call that a 'soul' if you like.
There's more rubbish and mystification surrounding cane rods than you see at a UFO convention. If I had thousand pounds for everyone who given me some variation of 'Woo-ooo, but is that the real MKIV taper...' along with 'the waving of the hands', I'd have done my MSc for nothing. Bamboo is grass and even subject to the whims of the maker and the process itself, a silk purse cannot be made out of a sow's ear, even a very fine sow's ear. It is what it is.
I've personally never believed the 'MKIV' was used to capture a 44lb record carp and there is enough mystification
RDLI.e. a masking or covering up central aspects of historical truth through the promulgation of narratives sympathetic to the structural position of a social class or group are camouflaged so that these social structures and the state which assists in their reproduction, are seen as legitimate.
Like I said 'woo-ooo' *waves hands in mysterious way* around the subject to give me grounds for thinking that, never mind the limitations of the rod itself and the availability of a much stouter rod (the MKIII). This is heretical talk for some. That in itself is interesting, but I'll write about that another time...
• Hexagraph Rods . I came across these rods and my first thought was 'Aha, the ideal construction of good built-cane married to the strength and stiffness of carbon-fibre'. My second thought was "How fecking much!!!!??" They're not cheap, being mostly hand-made, even today and if I'm frank, I dislike the cane-colour paint. It adds weight and I'd rather have a dark green colour. However, saying that, in an otherwise well designed rod, it's a fabulous way to make a rod.
So, here's the thing. Of all the rods I've owned and used there are very few that fit in the hand like a large Talisker the LoDThe 'Laird of Dunbar', although in respect of the provision of a large Talisker, I'm not fussy. has paid for. I have hopes for some others, but so far these are the true extensions of one's arm:
|di·vid·er: (noun): a thing that keeps two spaces or areas separate (...and back to the top of the page)|
For two years after I bought the Harrisons' Avon, I used it for absolutely everything. I'll explain...
I'm not all that fond of fishing a long way from myself. No reason, I just prefer to be near the action. By and large the waters I fish are small enough to get close to the fish (as long as one is stealthy) and a through action rod is fine for this. I prefer to fish this way. What I want out of a rod is power, shock absorption and flexibility. By the latter I mean able to handle a range of line breaking strengths, as I tend to fish for whatever is going and don't often focus on one species - although I tend to fish for larger fish and exclude small stuff with large baits. So for example the Avon will work quite nicely with line strengths of 6-10lb b/s. As I tend not to have the "dedication" of the "serious" angler, I make double sure that if I do hook something exceptional, I land it. This means avoiding break-offs and a through-action rod is good for this.
Even when piking I tend to stick with through action and especially if you use a modern braid for a main line (for piking), the lack of stretch in the line more than compensates for the through action of the rod, at all but the furthest ranges.
I like the convenience of a four-piece rod.
I did own a roach pole (5M) with standard and heavy "top threes" plus a short whip, which is handy for taking the children fishing. Nah, sold it.
|di·vid·er: (noun): a thing that keeps two spaces or areas separate (...and back to the top of the page)|
Harrison's Four Piece Avon Review.
Why would you buy a four-piece rod? Historically, they've had a bad press, but having travelled extensively and missed some great fishing opportunities, the need for a compact rod with the ability to cover various sorts of fishing had become crystallised in my mind. A two-piece rod is fine, but tends to be used as a footrest by smaller passengers in the back of the car and as a javelin by baggage handlers.
After some interwebbing, I came across Harrison and after some email communications decided I'd try the four-piece Avon. I ordered my blank in January via a distributor and after a delay it turned up. I built it in a frenzy using double legged ceramic rings and more or less followed the instructions and advice on Harrisons' website about spacing and placing. I've nothing against buying rods built and Harrison rods are nicely built. I just like to do it myself for the fun of it. I finally got to the water in May 2005. Phew. Improbably, I had an 11lb carp not 15 minutes in and finished the day with seven tench and another 6lb common. Good omens...so onto the rod itself;
At 10oz it's light in the hand, 11' long when assembled and 3'3" packed, which fits crossways on the Driving Technology's parcel shelf. When in use it has nothing about it that signals the four-piece construction. The joints are well made, a good fit and are overlapping joints which I am more comfortable with (as opposed to spigot-ferrules). It has a true Avon action through to the butt and I've felt that bend under strain. It's light enough to fish for small stuff, but has the power to stop a decent carp in its tracks. I've had to do this a few times on 12-15lb carp at about 15' (curse those overhanging tree branches).
I've used it on the Frome trotting for grayling and dace, mullet fishing in Ireland, some light piking, plus carp and tench fishing in weedy and snaggy waters and have no complaints. It has flexibility, but there is loads of power in reserve. I suspect I've not tapped that to its fullest extent yet.
I typically use it with 6lb/8lb line, depending on the water and fish, but go as light as 4lb, for trotting on the Frome and as high as 10lb for double figure carp in weedy water. 8lb seems around the optimum line strength for the rod. I would be chary of using it on purpose for really big carp (20lb+) especially in snaggy water; it might be a bit light for that. For everything between tiddler-snatching and really big carp/pike, it does an excellent job. I wish I'd had it a year earlier for a trip to a warm place with a chance of Barracuda, or as the bother put it, "A chance of watching one strip off 200 yards of line in 30 seconds and then smash you up...", but you know what I mean.
This is all unrelentingly positive, but I have a couple of niggles. The first one, is that I ordered in January, got a blank in March with a cork handle, when I'd ordered Duplon, so back it went, four weeks to turn that around. Slow and wrong, although the dealer was very helpful in the circumstances. The second niggle, is that the screw down reel seat doesn't look the best quality. Having said that it works fine.
If you wanted to spend all your time on grayling or smaller fish, then a lighter t/c Avon of around a 1lb might be more suited, but for me, with a limited budget (and limited time to fish), the rod performs perfectly for 90% of my fishing and is easy to pack and carry.
Verdict: To sum up, if it broke I'd buy another tomorrow.
|a very subtil fish...(and back to the top of the page)||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||if you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience||I am content to wait. I am well used to it.||if you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience||I am content to wait. I am well used to it.||I am content to wait. I am well used to it.||a very subtil fish||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||if you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience|
I started out with an Intrepid Challenger, which served me for many years - as mentioned above [2009- I got a good one on Fleabay for the heck of it]. The second reel I owned was a centre pin, given as a present during a period when for some reason we were keen on them. Bruv and I used them first at the Dyke and in coloured water during the early part of the year we both caught pike on worms. I still have the reel, will a fair bit of the excess weight drilled out, but it has been far exceeded by today's centre pin reels, works of art that rotate for minutes at a time. One day I'll be a good enough angler to justify having one.
I next owned an Abu Cardinal 40, one of the original stern drag (when it was new) reels that came out around 1978 or thereabouts. I have 4 spools and carried 3lb, 6lb, 8lb, 10lb line for all occasions. It served me faithfully until about 2004 when the gears just got so worn the reel stopped rotating freely. I moved onto a Shimano Sedona 4000 GTE in 2005. Used to dowdy tackle by preference, I painted over the chrome parts with matt green enamel...
In the interim I picked up cheaply a Cardinal Bronco and a Diawa AG1650CT, both with one spool and they were my pike fishing reels loaded with 12lb mono. In 2005 I bought a Shimano 3000, with extra spools to allow me line combinations to suit the majority of my fishing, without carrying more than 2 reels Generally speaking I use 4lb/6lb/8lb/10lb/12lb/16lb(braid).
I literally picked up a Ceratec ML2C - a small fixed spool, nice rear drag and ceramic lime roller. This was in a patch of long grass on a swim at Jubilee Lake in Thatcham and despite me placing a card on the notice board, no-one ever called for it. I use it for the rare occasions that require really light tackle.
The only real reason for the new reel is that both the 2 aforementioned have the one spool, with no chance of another both being discontinued. I suspect I will keep them somewhere.
I have an old (Shakespeare I think) Centrepin, which I first used in 1980 and have started to use again lately. It's worn, but works, but I have acquired a Series 2 Arnold Kingpin, which is amazing. Most fishing now is with this work of art and again liking it I bought a second. I used the 'pin almost without a break for 12 months 2007-2008. A revelation to one who'd never really fished with a pin before.
In 2008 I got converted by Nempster to a Cardinal 44x, which is a wonderful reel. It had all the nostalgia of using my Cardinal 40 but was just better. I enjoyed it so much I bought another and consequently have about 8 spools. I liked them so much I spent a few months acquiring couple of Cardinal 66's for Leviathan fishing. They're old but do what I want without frippery.
A year later I found a pair of '66s on fleabay with metal bale arms and indulged in those and then in 2012 I discovered Cardinal 66x's, with their cream and brown colour scheme and faster retrieve. The line lay is not quite as good as 66's, so I load sppols with a '66. I've also changed the drag washers in the '66x's for carbon fibre ones, which has helped and re-profiled the lip of the spools which added 20% to casting range. Seldom without them now.
KingPin Series 2 Review.
I decided that I wanted to try fishing with a centre pin, in part due to Waterlog et al. I dug out an old K. Dowling 'pin, given to me when I was 18, got quickly used to the unfree running nature and banked several carp up to 11lb next to lily beds, which as 'BB' reminds us, spells doom if carp can get amongst them. I rather enjoyed being able to retrieve line when exerting pressure. So that's OK then. I practised Wallis's in the back garden for a bit. Seemed straightforward enough in theory.
I researched in-depth the contemporary centre-pin market. Well OK, for a couple of hours, but that's 'Google' for you. I wanted a quality item but wasn't prepared to part with the inflated price of some newer pins due in part to the name of the endorsee, especially in this age of CNC tools. It didn't matter whether it was an older or contemporary model. Function was the thing, as I was still a neophyte 'pin angler. By chance, I found a reference to 'Arnold KingPins' being manufactured in Poole. As it happens, that's local and I'd also rather buy British. With a call and a visit I found out that I could have a Series 2 Kingpin in a variety of colours, except green which is apparently a bu88er to get right and easily spoiled. Pity. Once I had one in my hand, I was sold however.
I was invited to pay on collection when the reel was ready, which I did. The first time out I got memorably stuffed by a big carp ("Good Omens") but used it almost exclusively for the next 12 months for everything from margin carping, tench fishing and trotting the Frome for grayling and the Stour for chub, with lines from 3lb to 10lb b/s. A decent trot, as it were. Arf, arf.
So, first things first. What does it look like? It looks like quality. The anodising is top rate and overall appearance pleasing. Two colours shown here, black and platinum (mea culpa, I bought another; I tend to fish when I can and I wanted to have two line strengths to hand). It's possible I didn't clean the reels before the photos.
|Series One - Regal 450 Platinum||Series One - Regal 450 Black|
Does they spin? By golly, yes. When new, the first reel would spin freely for over a minute but now it has bedded well in, it actually spins for over two minutes. Which is nuts. Even limited experience tells you that any 'pin that spins freely for a minute is good enough for fishing. The reel itself is made in two main parts. The spool and the back-plate. The spool bolts to the back-plate with a nice brass nut, which is just knurled enough to hurt when your really cold fingers slip on it.
The spool contains the sealed bearing unit, so it's not a 'traditional centre-pin', so some purists are no doubt offended, but if using nylon line, it is hard to reject ball bearings as a modern solution. I understand metal has been in use for several thousand years though, so we should be OK there. The drum of the spool is continuous, so no fold marks however long or tightly the line has been on the reel.
The back of the spool is closed so no detritus can get into the sealed works but the gap between spool and back-plate is so small that any bit of grit will cause nasty noises. Always dismantle the reel on a clean surface is my advice, and unhooking mats are not in this category.
The drum is wide, 7/8", with a depth that accommodates 200 yards of 12lb line on it, and a bit more besides if you feel the need. Hook a margin carp and need 200 yards of line? You wish! The ratchet lever is in a handy place and the ratchet is positive and not too loud, but I quietened mine with a mix of moly and silicon grease, but I'm a slave to silence. Since I wrote this in 2009, the flimsy back-plate was removed from the spools and that quietened the reels considerably.
|Series One - Regal 450|
Both parts are very solidly made (useful for the aforementioned margin carp) and it's heavier than some reels. Despite the resulting inertia, the extremely free running nature compensates to the point where even a 2BB float in a light Stour flow pulls line off at a steady rate. Casting 'off the reel' needs some care initially as you need to brake the drum almost from the off to avoid overruns. Otherwise, it's good for "giving it some Wallis".
The knurled finish on the drum edge provides very satisfying feedback for the thumb when trotting, as well as a sight fizzing noise, the note of which varies with the speed the line is pulled off. I've got very used to that, even if your thumb can get warm when you hook a screamer, although funnily enough that's easier to bear. It's nice also for 'batting the rim' if you like to retrieve this way. The handles are also nicely made, but are easy to remove if you prefer and the round holes in the spool are very handy for the 'one finger retrieve' (I sense a 'Samantha the Scorer' anecdote coming on, what with 'batting the rim' and the 'one finger retrieve').
|Series One - Regal 450 Black||Series One - Regal 450 Platinum|
I find the reel body a little close to the rod when mounted, which can make it awkward to hold, as I like to get my index finger ahead of the reel mount for a stronger grip and I have small hands. For most fishing this is not a problem, but I find a three fingered grip aching at the end of a days' trotting and also if into a large carp (steady Samantha). I'd personally like a larger diameter drum, for a faster retrieve and a lighter reel would be nicer for the river but I see that the range has recently expanded to cover these things plus user serviceable bearings.
In summary, I find it a joy to use, pretty much in any situation. Try one, you might be amazed. They perform perfectly for me and I have to say it's good to buy British. I was edging towards my third Kingpin when I wrote this and have since indulged in a Royalty 478 which I thought to be even better...but it never felt right in the hand and in the end I sold it on for what I paid for it. I did the same with a 378 (although I made a profit on that one). Nice, but I had little use for it.
I've since come to see them as rather over-priced, sorry to say. They are beautifully made of course, but they are CNC machined, high tolerances excepting and as of 2014, the market is showing more and more very nicely made reels that are a quarter of the price but are simply nowhere near a quarter of the quality, many with user changeable bearings and little significant difference in quality or performance.
For some there is a cachet that sits alongside 'reassuringly expensive' but for my money, there are several equally good and usable reels for £100 or so, and to pay £400 or even £700 for what is after all, a piece of CNC machining, is rather more 'Emperor's New Clothes' than 'value for money'.
|medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...(and return to the top of the page)||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and one more time...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...got it?|
Fox Stalker Unhooking Mat Review.
Why review an unhooking mat? It depends what you want from it I suppose - my old one, an unbranded piece of foam with a nylon backing sheet, disintegrated from the molecular-bond breaking effects of UV light, so I needed another. I say 'needed' as so many waters have the use of an unhooking mat written into their rules. A lot of the places I fish have thick water-meadow grass, which is better, but I digress.
So to the mat. It's a sensible colour. It has no flashy bits. It performs perfectly well in its primary role, which is to say it is well padded and big enough for a 30lb carp (I imagine, like I'd know first hand. Hah!). Well hurrah, a bin liner with a blanket in does that. It doubles as a weighing sling. Handy if you catch anything worth weighing. I'm not basing my choice on that criterion alone for very good reasonsâ€¦or lack of them if you know what I mean.
Secondly and more importantly it really is completely waterproof. This is an essential requirement, as for many of my trips the unhooking mat is my seat. A wet posterior can take the gloss of any day, but a dry unhooking matt under a large brolly keeps you out of the weather and in the summer you just skip taking the brolly. It's long enough to allow me to almost lie down.
Thirdly - it's exactly the right size and shape to use as a holdall and to be fair it is designed that way. I like to put the rods, landing net and any other bits and pieces into the mat and carry them. The old one was good for that. My new mat had to be good for that and I have to say it's almost perfect in that regard. You can get all the normal accoutrements in it and then Velcro up the side to keep things put and then bung in your bait box (or whatever). If I was being hypercritical I'd say the handles are not quite large enough to hook them over one shoulder and that even with my short armed 6ft frame, the mat only just clears the deck when being carried by the handles. Trifles, really.
Lastly, when you've done with it, it rolls up into a small self secured bundle to hide in the back of the car - and also it seems to absorb little or no slime, so it does wipe clean as advertised, which keeps the car fresher as well...
I'm pleased with it - it does what it says on the tin, the price is reasonable and I'd recommend the Fox Stalker Unhooking Mat it even if you don't go stalking...
P.S. It literally had fallen apart by mid-2014, I don't know if that counts as a long useful life or not.
|Safety Pin Hook (and return to the top of the page)||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook|
This drives me mad, so in case it drives you mad here is a rough conversion from traditional shot sizes to weights in grams.
|SSG||=||1.6g|||||2 × BB||=||0.8g|
|SA||=||1.2g|||||3 × BB||=||1.2g|
|AAA||=||0.8g|||||4 × BB||=||1.6g|
|AB||=||0.6g|||||5 × BB||=||2.0g|
|BB||=||0.4g|||||2 × SSG||=||3.2g|
|No.1||=||0.3g|||||1 × No.4, 1 × No.6||=||0.3g|
|No.4||=||0.2g|||||1 × BB, 1 × No.6||=||0.5g|
|No.6||=||0.1g|||||1 × AAA, 1 × No. 4||=||1.0g|
|No.8||=||0.068g|||||2 × BB, 1 × No. 4||=||1.0g|
|No.9||=||0.051g|||||3 × BB, 1 × No. 1||=||1.5g|
|it's lead free, honest...(and back to the top of the page)||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p||it's lead free, honest||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p||it's lead free, honest||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p||it's lead free, honest||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p||it's lead free, honest||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p||it's lead free, honest||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p||it's lead free, honest||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p||it's lead free, honest||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p||it's lead free, honest||it's lead free, so a bit cr*p|
This drives me mad as well, so...
|0 X||=||0.011"||/||0.27mm||(Stren Original 8lb)||2, 1/0|
|2 X||=||0.009"||/||0.22mm||(Stren Original 6lb)||6, 8, 10|
|3 X||=||0.008"||/||0.20mm||(Stren Original 4lb)||10, 12, 14|
|4 X||=||0.007"||12, 14, 16|
|5 X||=||0.006"||14, 16, 18|
|6 X||=||0.005"||/||0.15mm||(Stren Original 2lb)||16, 18, 20, 22|
|7 X||=||0.004"||18, 20, 22, 24|
|8 X||=||0.003"||22, 24, 26, 28|
|Proper Float...(and back to the top of the page)||Another proper float|
...said the Bug-angler (aged 9 and 23/24ths) at La Morinais in August 2008 while we were trying for a tench or carp, as I windmilled in some loose bait, "You know Dad, you could flick bait in with a spoon and it would be much easier." Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings...
You can flick a dozen grains of corn about 40 yards with a spoon, the wooden sort they have on ferries are good, but the plastic baby spoons are much better. You can get a bit of kibble 50 yards. An ear of giant maize will go 60 yards. Live and learn. I carry a couple of spoons now...
And you don't get hemp and corn stuck in your ears as it bounces back off the twatapault handles either...
|di·vid·er: (noun): a thing that keeps two spaces or areas separate (...and back to the top of the page)|
This is a list of the stuff I either bought and discovered to be pointless or never bought for the same reason.
This is a list of the stuff which is way more useful than you might think.
|inter...(and back to the top of the page)||...linked||inter...||...linked||inter...||...linked||inter...||...linked||inter...||...linked||inter...||...linked||inter...||...linked|
|12:21am on 2019-03-24|